08 July 2024

Panellists who reported on the operational progress made to date by the National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC) and the results achieved.

The 46th annual SAPICS Conference saw more than 750 supply chain managers from 30 countries across Africa and around the world meet in Cape Town to explore this increasingly important profession’s current challenges and opportunities, to learn and share knowledge. The conference is the leading event in Africa for supply chain professionals. This is Part 2 of a two-part series.

While supply chains get goods from manufacturers to end users, they also save lives. Strong healthcare supply chains are critical to get lifesaving medicines and health commodities to where they are needed, when they are needed, including to the most vulnerable communities. Recognising this, the 2024 SAPICS Conference featured a global public health supply chain track running throughout the event. These sessions examined topics ranging from last mile distribution challenges across Africa to the successful use of drones for the delivery of blood, medicines and snakebite antivenom. Artificial intelligence’s role in reducing drug shortages by analysing huge volumes of data faster than any human could was also explored, along with the power of public-private partnerships to enhance public health supply chains.

Focus on circular supply chains and sustainability

As our natural resources dwindle and carbon emissions rise, circular supply chains are becoming more critical than ever. Circularity and sustainability were the focus of several absorbing sessions at the 2024 SAPICS Conference. An important new book, “Sustainable Supply Chain Orchestration”, co-written by world-renowned circular supply chain expert Deborah Dull and supply chain management leader Douglas Kent, was launched at this year’s conference. Dull and Kent introduced SAPICS Conference attendees to their “UNLEARN” model, a framework outlined in their book and designed to foster sustainable practices in an organisation. “Our supply chains have been designed to drive cost efficiencies, optimise delivery times and ensure product quality. However, this focus has contributed to unsustainable practices that compromise the well-being of our planet and society. We can no longer tolerate excessive packaging, inefficient logistics which increase greenhouse gas emissions, single-use plastics, exploitive labour practices, improper waste disposal or chemical runoff. Supply chain leaders have an enormous impact on sustainability and a critical role to play in shaping a better tomorrow,” Dull said.

At the closing dinner that ended the conference on a festive note, prizes were awarded to the following outstanding speakers and exhibitors:

Best Speaker: Vanya Jansen

Most Innovative Presentation: Prashant Yadav

Best Panel Discussion: Market Shaping for Drones

Best Workshop: Mbuso Nkosi

Best Written Paper: Oliver Jones and Luis Freitas

Best Booth: GS1

Best Single Unit Exhibition Stand: Webfleet

Best Multiple Unit Exhibition Stand: Interrol

In addition to learning and networking, the SAPICS Conference organisers and delegates also found time during the conference to give back to those less fortunate. At a “Rise Against Hunger” meal packaging event, conference attendees packed 6 000 meals for disadvantaged communities.

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